Civil UAV Type Certification: DoD Mishap Analysis 2000-2009 and FAA Certification Roadmap
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued memorandums which support the use of flight activities which can demonstrate that proposed operation can be conducted at an acceptable level of safety. This paper examines the existing data available from the Air Force on Unmanned Air System (UAS) reliability, and attempts to apply that information to UAS FAA certification. This will allow UAS to operate more freely in the National Airspace System (NAS). The current state of UAS operations is assessed from the Safety Investigation Board One-Line Summaries and Judge Advocate General Accident Investigation Board executive summaries. This data is categorized and aggregated to show sources of failure and the impact of those failures on the system. Detail failure trends are derived from the data that show gaps in airworthiness. This data is then tested against the applicable subset of Part 25 rules for sufficiency as a Means of Compliance (MOC). The gaps in sufficiency are discussed, and alternative methods for knowledge acquisition are examined for their sufficiency as MOC. The uniqueness of UAS safety, new risks and reduced risk, is discussed finally, and a plan is proposed to reduce certification burden in a post-production environment for this new Type Class of Vehicle. The result is a hypothetical set of UAS rules and means of compliance that supports UAS incorporation in the NAS by the 2015 deadline specified in recent federal law.